Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ainu and Sioux



(Here is a simple 3D drawing of the way the shed was put together.) Impatient with my progress on the shed (in light of the decreasing time available in which to complete it), I returned to the drawing board looking for a simpler means to building a structure for outdoor storage, while trying not to compromise my core aesthetic ideals. The first thing that could be simplified is the complex joinery in a Norwegian trestle frame building. For while the way the joints lock together is beautiful, the cuts take considerable time and energy to get right. On original longhouses, whether constructed by Vikings or Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, the construction was much simpler than trestle frame buildings- it was possible to build them such that no more than two logs met at any joint. So I tried this, but after erecting the first post and beam unit, I soon found that without careful measurements the posts would not stand plumb and square. Though not too critical, the combined error of all the posts together seemed to present a problem. I needed a faster solution. I returned to another alternative construction method I learned about from the Ainu four months ago. Instead of posts supporting the beams, I could use tripods. This is how the Ainu built their houses, and as I learned later, it is also the foundation of most tipis, such as those used by the Sioux. If I lash three posts together, I create a tripod. If I set out four tripods and lay beams across them, I create a shed roof. A tripod requires only rough cuts, and can be put almost anywhere. Shelving, and hooks for tools, could easily be mounted on walls that do not bear the full weight of the roof. I could also make a reciprocal frame roof for the shed, or add two more tripods and make the shed a hexagon shape... there are lots of possibilities. Overall, this seems the most expedient solution. Still, the question remains, can three angled posts bear the same weight as a single vertical post? I will find out.

2 comments:

aratina said...

Beautiful. Reminds me of the old docks at some abandoned cannery.

Keir said...

Thanks. I learned recently that this make-shift construction might best be described as "pioneering", in which ropes and poles are used to build things. Originally an important military skill, it is now primary a pursuit of scout organizations and other enthusiasts. One can build anything from furniture to towers.